Fab Lab Center Holds a ‘Brunch and Learn FUNdraiser’ to Support STEAM Education Expansion

When chil­dren are asked what FAB stands for at the Fab Lab Center in Warminster PA, they excit­ed­ly shout “FABulous!” They may not be tech­ni­cal­ly cor­rect, but it is won­der­ful know­ing this is how they feel about this Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) learn­ing expe­ri­ences it pro­vides. In sup­port of the expan­sion of Fab Lab’s pro­grams, a ‘Brunch and Learn’ was held April 13, 2024, to kick-off a FUNdraising appeal in pur­suit of dona­tions and spon­sor­ships. Attendees had FUN learn­ing about the Fab Lab’s mis­sion, cur­rent pro­grams, and excit­ing future expan­sion plans while enjoy­ing a deli­cious brunch.

From using spe­cial­ized soft­ware to cre­ate three-dimensional card stock mod­els to laser engrav­ing their own per­son­al­ized note­books and cod­ing robots to move, atten­dees had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore a wide range of the Fab Lab’s cur­rent equip­ment and pro­grams. In sup­port of inspir­ing dona­tions, a focus on the future Fab Lab plans were also on display:

  • An Immersive Reality Studio — This stu­dio will pro­vide an immer­sive, inter­ac­tive envi­ron­ment in which stu­dents can explore and learn through expe­ri­ences that ele­vate prob­lem solv­ing abil­i­ties, adapt­abil­i­ty, and crit­i­cal think­ing. The pro­gram has 700+ unique expe­ri­ences; take a vir­tu­al trip to a for­eign coun­try, go swim­ming with the fish in the ocean, vis­it a vir­tu­al art gallery, prac­tice nav­i­gat­ing pub­lic trans­porta­tion, and more!
  • The Maplewoodshop Program — This com­plete wood shop offers hands-on tac­tile explo­ration of wood­work­ing and car­pen­try [the pro­gram is rec­og­nized by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) as a pre­cur­sor to their Career Connections cur­ricu­lum]. The cur­ricu­lum also sup­ports the devel­op­ment of core com­pe­ten­cies (cre­ativ­i­ty, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and collaboration).
  • The Fablicator MX 3D Extruder — Capable of design­ing, slic­ing, and print­ing 3D mod­els with­out need­ing a sep­a­rate com­put­er, this unique dual extrud­er sys­tem is a work horse. The MX can make parts using dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als while main­tain­ing excep­tion­al part qual­i­ty with a large print­able area (max­i­mum of 8.5” x 13.5” x 9.5”).

Fab Lab FUNdraising efforts were kicked off by a gen­er­ous $100,000 dona­tion made ear­li­er this year by Bucks County res­i­dents Paul and Aarati Martino. Just $250 can cov­er the cost of a child attend­ing a Fab Lab After-School Club (an eight-week pro­gram), $8,000 can pur­chase one Fablicator MX, and $50,000 can sup­port the staffing and pro­gram to reach 5,000 stu­dents annu­al­ly with the Maplewoodshop.

The Fab Lab also sup­ports two mobile units that take STEAM learn­ing direct­ly to stu­dents for week-long res­i­den­cies at pub­lic and pri­vate schools through­out the coun­ty. Residencies include all the mate­ri­als, Fab Lab equip­ment, STEAM cur­ric­u­la aligned to the school’s edu­ca­tion­al cal­en­dar, and a Fab Lab Coordinator. Fab Lab Teachers are all cer­ti­fied, mas­ter STEAM educators!

Powered by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU), the Fab Lab is a self-sustaining enti­ty reliant on rev­enue from its pro­grams as well as grants, dona­tions, and spon­sor­ships. To learn more about the Fab Lab and STEAM Education, please go to www.BucksIU.org/FabLab. For ques­tions relat­ed to donat­ing or spon­sor­ships, please email FabLab@BucksIU.org.

Your inter­est and sup­port in STEAM edu­ca­tion are an invest­ment in the future of today’s youth and their growth and devel­op­ment. To make a tax-exempt dona­tion, sim­ply use this link (https://bit.ly/FabLab-Donation), or QR code to the right, to make your con­tri­bu­tion online. Please select ‘Fab Lab’ from the drop-down menu of dona­tion designees.